There has been a steady flow of Yankees players out of Tampa the last several days as the coronavirus pandemic continues its hold on just about every part of society.
Spring training was suspended indefinitely last Friday, and when it can resume is anyone’s guess. It would be foolhardy even to speculate when the regular season could start.
Most of the Yankees remaining in Tampa and working out at Steinbrenner Field live in the area — or have offseason homes or apartments there — but there are exceptions.
DJ LeMahieu, for instance, whose home is in Michigan.
How much longer does he plan to stay in Tampa? “For the foreseeable future,” the second baseman told reporters Thursday outside Steinbrenner Field. “I don’t really want to go home. Going to stay here for now.”
How much longer LeMahieu and other Yankees who have been frequenting Steinbrenner Field in the last week — a group that includes Aaron Judge, Miguel Andujar, Tyler Wade, Luke Voit and Giancarlo Stanton — will be able to keep showing up there, however, predictably is coming into question.
That's not a surprise, given the almost hour-by-hour changes occurring across the world during the crisis.
"At this point, we cannot say with any certainty how long Club facilities in Spring Training or the Major League city will remain open, and Players should prepare for the possibility that all operations will be shut down completely," a memo sent to player agents read in part, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The MLBPA confirmed the memo to Newsday later in the day Thursday.
In the meantime, LeMahieu will keep his schedule of regular workouts at the facility.
“Personally, it keeps me sane,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to come here and at least work out and do some baseball stuff. I would be going crazy if I wasn’t able to do that at least. We’re doing that and they are making it as safe as possible for us in there, so I think it’s good.”
On his way out of Steinbrenner Field on Wednesday, hitting coach Marcus Thames, who lives in the Tampa area, said part of the safety measures included wearing latex gloves while he throws batting practice.
“Everyone’s wearing gloves and we’re giving each other space,” LeMahieu said. “I think everyone kind of trusts that we’re doing everything we can to stay safe. [But at] the same time, we’re trying to get a little bit of work in, at least, and stay in shape. I know the rehab guys are thankful they can come in and do their thing. I think they are leaving it [the complex] open mostly so those rehab guys can stay healthy. At the same time, because we’re down here [remaining players], they are letting us work out as well.”
LeMahieu, whose wife is with him in Tampa, has practical reasons for staying in Florida.
“All the gyms are closed in Michigan, and it’s cold,” said LeMahieu, who went to high school there and maintains a home there. “Just being able to be out a little bit here and work out [is a positive]. I just think it’s the best place to be right now.”
The Yankees, of course, had two minor-leaguers in their system test positive for the virus during the past week. They are the only Major League Baseball team to date to have any players in their system test positive. The Yankees' minor-league complex has been shut down since last Friday and the approximately 150 minor-leaguers in camp are under self-quarantine, as is much of the player development staff that works there, until March 25. The minor-league complex will be shuttered until at least March 25.